Monday, August 21, 2006

Ninoy reminds Tagaytay

Tagaytay students sing the National Anthem
at the Tagaytay Rotonda to commemorate
the 23rd death anniversary of Ninoy Aquino

Today is a public holiday in honor of the 23rd death anniversary of Ninoy Aquino murdered as he set forth in the country, at the tarmac of the then Manila International Airport. It ignited series of protests against the Marcos regime which culminated in the People Power revolution.

In Tagaytay, Ninoy is well remembered. His statue greets every visitor of the city as it hovers over the historical Tagaytay Rotonda (roundabout) also known as Silang Junction.

During the Philippine Revolution in 1896, the revolutionaries passed through this place to go from one town to another. Thus the word "mananagaytay" (literally, "to traverse ridges") from which the name "Tagaytay" came, was coined.

Indeed, the Rotonda is a strategic and a central spot. Here the four roads criscross. The road to the north leads to Manila passing through the Aguinaldo Highway; to the south is a steep road down to Taal Lake; to the west the road leads to the heart of Laguna (and Manila) via the Sta. Rosa Road; and to the east, toward Batangas Bay.

In 3 February 1945, the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division of the US Army made their first combat jump on this spot. The 511th moved on to capture Manila from the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army. To commemorate this event, a marker was installed in 1951.

At the height of the presidential campaign in January 1986, a large crowd, perhaps the largest in history of Tagaytay, gathered in this place to support Cory Aquino and Doy Laurel against Marcos. the rally attended by many supporters from the provinces of Cavite, Batangas, and Laguna and spearheaded by the Tagaytay Religious Association, became a turning point in that controversial snap election. Ninoy's statue here is a reminder of that important event.

The Rotonda is not only strategic and historical, it is, or rather, it had been till 1986 the best place to view the enchanting and mysterious couple, Taal Lake and Taal Volcano. Visitors are greeted with a breath-taking view of the Lake once reaching Rotonda. The view became even more refreshing along the road that followed the Tagaytay ridge. Drivers used to opened the windows of their cars to behold this God-given sight and to breathe in the once fresh Tagaytay air.

This is what you see today.

To have good view of the Lake, you have to enter Vista Lodge, now owned by the owner of ShoeMart, and have to pay an exorbitant price P100.00 to see what God has given to everyone; or if you've got no money, you can risk your life by stopping at the few open sites left which are the most dangerous parts of the ridge.

I hope these people realize that Taal Lake is not their private property and the public has the right to this natural view God has freely given.

If it were elsewhere, say at Lake Nemi (Rome), these structures would have been immediately condemned and raze to the ground.

While waiting this morning for the flag raising program in honor of Ninoy Aquino, I got a chance to talk to the first councilor of the City, Honorable Celso P. de Castro who explained the plan of city government to do something about these selfish structures and even promised that in spite of the relentless effort of the owner of SM, they would not allow him to build a mammoth mall in this small city.

The Book of Genesis (chapter 11) tells a similar scene: "Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves...' But the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. So it was called 'Babel'."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it has been over 20 years since i last had a glimpse of taal volcano and i can still vividly recall the spiritual impact it had on the 1984 graduating class of thomasian nurses. something must be done to remove this present ghastly sight of construction that is not just an open eyesore but disrespects the beauty of nature and its Creator.